Dr Soung-U Kim (김성우)

Key information

Research Fellow Centre of Korean Studies Research Fellow
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address


Soung-U Kim is a Research Fellow in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and of German-Korean descent. With an MA in Language Documentation and Description, he completed his Linguistics PhD on finiteness in Jejuan adverbial clauses in 2018. His main areas of interest are clause linkage, egophoricity, evidentiality and intersubjectivity as well as language endangerment, documentation and revitalisation with a special focus on South Korea, as well as studying the relationship between language ideology, monolingualism and linguistic nationalism.

Research Trajectory

After my MA research on languages attitudes on Jeju Island seen from an ethnographic perspective, I obtained a doctoral scholarship by the AHRC in order to embark on my PhD in Linguistics, which initially dealt with multiverb constructions in Jejuan spoken in Jeju Province, South Korea (also known as Jejueo, Jeju language, Jejubangeon, Ceycwu dialect, Ceycwutosmal). It eventually grew into a thesis on ‘Finiteness in Jejuan Adverbial Clauses – a Canonical Typology Perspective’ under the supervision of Prof Irina Nikolaeva, completed in 2018. My PhD research was accompanied by a documentation project funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at SOAS where I have been documenting Jejuan conversations audio-visually. While I am still interested in converbs and clause linkage, I recently ventured into studying egophoricity, evidentiality and intersubjectivity marking in Jejuan morphosyntax, as well as looking at ethnographic perspectives on politeness metaconcepts in the Korean-speaking realm.

Over time, I have become interested in cultivating reflexivity in descriptive linguistic practice, which is why I have been developing ideas on South Korean language ideology and linguistic nationalism, as well as the construction and objectification of language in our discipline. Accordingly, I explore how language-ideological positions such as on language and dialect are developed, established, maintained and perpetuated by social actors. Both linguistically and anthropologically, I am therefore often drawn to the study of languages of areas where such conflicts are played out, such as Jejuan in South Korea, Catalan in Catalonia, Bernese Alemannic in Switzerland, Ordos Mongolian in Inner Mongolia, or the many languages of Germany, Italy and France. In my free time, I engage with Korean traditional performing arts, race, identity and language in the Western-European Korean diaspora, as well as learning Welsh.


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